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FW: Report of 1st National Conference on Science, Policy & the Environment

Charles Miller rellim at tulane.edu
Tue Apr 24 09:13:49 EST 2001




Friends and colleagues,

I would like to ask your help in getting word out to your friends and
colleagues, and others you feel would be interested in the report
described below.

"Recommendations for Improving the Scientific Basis for Environmental
Decisionmaking: A Report from the first National Conference on Science,
Policy, and the Environment" is a timely and important document to help
guide our national leaders on a course of environmental action. Please
send this message on to those individuals, organizations, and discussion
lists you feel would benefit from this report.

I will admit up front my bias towards this report and the messages it
contains. 

I was the Co-Chair of one of the breakout-committees (Information Systems,
recommending the creation of a national environmental information
infrastructure) at the national conference where this report's origins
lie. NCSE did a fantastic job of formulating a concise report on the
future of our environment in these otherwise unsure environmental times.

Information for print and online copies of the report are contained in the
advisory from the report's producer, the National Council for Science and
the Environment. 

Thank you for passing on this information.

Fred Stoss
Science and Engineering Library
University at Buffalo
State University of New York
 

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Mon, 23 Apr 2001 12:35:30 -0400
From: Kevin Hutton <khutton at ncseonline.org>

Washington, APRIL 23, 2001

REPORT PRESENTS RECOMMENDATIONS OF FIRST NATIONAL CONFERENCE ON SCIENCE,
POLICY AND THE ENVIRONMENT:

EXPERTS SAY NEW APPROACHES ARE NEEDED TO IMPROVE AND EXPEDITE
ENVIRONMENTAL DECISIONMAKING

LANDMARK REPORT TO BE RELEASED ON EARTH DAY BRIEFINGS SCHEDULED FOR
CAPITOL HILL AND IN AGENCIES

HTML VERSION is here: http://www.cnie.org/updates/97.htm

On Earth Day 2001, the National Council for Science and the Environment
(NCSE) is releasing a report reflecting the views of many of the
nation’s leading environmental scientists and decisionmakers calling for
major changes in the relationship between science and environmental
policy. The report emphasizes the need for “significant” investment in
new approaches to science and for changes in governmental organization
to address “serious voids” that impede efforts to acquire and translate
scientific knowledge.

The report, which offers specific recommendations for improving the
scientific basis for environmental decisionmaking, is based on
deliberations by more than 450 scientists, policymakers, and
stakeholders from a broad range of disciplines, interests, and locales.
The group was convened late last year as the first National Conference
on Science, Policy, and the Environment. NCSE asked participants to
assess the current state of environmental decisionmaking in the United
States and to advise the incoming Administration and the new Congress on
needed improvements. The results are contained in a new report entitled
"Recommendations for Improving the Scientific Basis for Environmental
Decisionmaking," which can be found at www.cnie.org/2000conference
Printed copies are available from NCSE: staff at NCSEonline.org or
202-530-5810.

NCSE has scheduled a series of briefings to present the report:
* Wednesday April 25 at the National Science  Foundation
* A Capitol Hill press briefing Thursday, April 26 at 10:00 a.m.,
chaired by NCSE President Ambassador Richard Benedick, and featuring
remarks by members of the Science Committee of the U.S. House of
Representatives.
* Friday April 26 at 10:30 a.m. in the Science Committee Hearing Room
2325 Rayburn House Office Building, for Congressional staff and
interested public
* At a date and location to be determined for Senate staff and
interested public
* May 18 at the National Academy of Sciences

To arrange for a briefing for your organization, contact Rob Viehl at
202-530-5810; staff at NCSEonline.org

REPORT PRESENTS RECOMMENDATIONS OF FIRST NATIONAL CONFERENCE ON SCIENCE,
POLICY AND THE ENVIRONMENT

The report addresses the environmental challenges now facing our society
through a detailed set of recommendations compiled by 14 expert working
groups that met during the conference. Among the issues deliberated
were:

* Biodiversity and Ecosystem Health
* Environmental Implications of Biotechnology
* Environmental Indicators
* Federal Government Structure
* Global Environmental Change
* Higher Education
* Human Health and the Environment
* Information Systems
* Invasive Species
* Pollution Prevention/Waste Management
* Population and the Environment
* Public Education
* Sustainable Communities
* Sustainable Resource Management

 A New Interdisciplinary Science of Sustainability

 The report calls for a new interdisciplinary science of sustainability
that integrates:

* Economic Security
* Ecological Integrity, and
* Social Equity.

 Sustainability Science seeks to improve upon the substantial, but still
limited, understanding of nature-society interactions.  It aims to
provide a better understanding of the complex dynamic interactions
between human society and nature so that the alarming trends towards
increasing vulnerability are reversed.  Achieving sustainability will
not only require changes in scientific collaborations and mindsets, but
also changes in the institutions that fund and communicate science.

New Entities Would Encourage Collaboration and Communication

 In addition to various programs recommended for development by key
players such as the National Science Foundation, the National Academy of
Sciences/National Research Council, and the Environmental Protection
Agency, the report also advocates forming new or reinvigorated entities,
including:

* a  National Environmental Information Infrastructure that would
support intensified public information, education, and training  on
environmental issues,
* a  Bureau of Environmental Statistics, analogous to the Bureau of
Labor Statistics, that would provide periodic “state-of-the-science”
reports on key environmental issues,
* a  Joint Committee on the Environment in the U.S. Congress, analogous
to the Joint Economic Committee,
* a resurrected Office of Technology Assessment,
* Policy Centers within all federal science and resource management
agencies.

 In addition to the clear need for additional funding and programs, the
report also addresses how possible savings in both time and money could
be realized. For instance, the report discusses how crucial it is to
identify and coordinate the missions and activities of the numerous
governmental, quasi-governmental, and nongovernmental organizations
involved in environmental decisionmaking to avoid duplication of effort
and to create synergy. Further, the report asserts that “the breadth,
depth, and diversity of the scientific specialties involved make
interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary approaches essential.”

 Underscored throughout the report is the contention that sound
environmental decisionmaking is dependent on “an effective interface
between scientists and policymakers and the reliable and timely
translation of information and views between the two communities.”  The
report further emphasizes “the need for science-based education at every
level of society if the general public and their elected public
officials are to make informed, effective, and timely decisions.”

 Conference video tapes available from NCSE

 Copies of video tapes from the conference, including the John H. Chafee
Memorial Lecture on Science and the Environment, presented by Nobel
Laureates F. Sherwood Rowland and Mario Molina, are available for $20
each from NCSE – see www.cnie.org/2000conference/tapes or contact
staff at NCSEonline.org for details.

 For copies of the report, more detailed information on briefings, and
assistance in scheduling briefings or interviews, contact:

 David Blockstein at david at cnie.org and (202) 530-5810, ext. 205,
 Rob Viehl at staff at ncseonline.org and (202) 530-5810 or
 Deborah Strauss at dstrausslynch at aol.com and (202) 530-5810 or (301)
229-3123.

 On December 6 and 7, 2001, the National Museum of Natural History of
the Smithsonian Institution and the National Council for Science and the
Environment will host the second National Conference on Science, Policy
and the Environment, with a theme of Sustainable Communities: Science
and Solutions.

 Additional information about other activities of NCSE is available at
www.cnie.org


-- 
Kevin Hutton, Webmaster
National Council for Science and the Environment
1725 K St. NW Suite 212 Washington, DC 20006
http://www.cnie.org



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